Johannesburg - An alternative source of energy from Sasol [JSE:SOL] will provide thousands of homeowners with a significantly smaller monthly energy account, as well as a smaller carbon footprint.
On Tuesday the petrochemical giant introduced its new Sasol Homegas product at the Waterfall Country Estate in Midrand, currently the largest property development in the country and the first to use the gas.
The product is liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which is stored in large 6 200-litre to 22 500-litre gas tanks on the premises of the development for use as an alternative energy source.
It is the first such project and Sasol plans to roll it out on a large scale countrywide in new developments.
It's a step in the direction of a greener future, said Pieter Claassen, Sasol Oil’s manager for new business development.
It is especially targeted at developers of new housing and at the low-income housing market.
He said the gas would be used to heat water, for indoor heating and for cooking.
At the same time the houses will be supplied with solar panels.
This would reduce the average household's dependence on electricity by about 60%. The saving on the total electricity account would be 18% to 20% and households’ carbon footprint would come down 40% to 50%.
It would considerably reduce the pressure on South Africa’s electricity network and ensure that buildings had a reliable alternative source of energy at all times, lightening the household burden of rising electricity tariffs.
This gas is already being used in millions of homes globally, but its use in South Africa has always been limited because the country until recently had cheap electricity.
The infrastructure to install the product will add to developer’s costs.
Claassen said a R1.5m house would cost an average of 1% more to build and low-income houses about 2% more.
Mark Corbett, chief executive of Century Property Developments which is developing Waterfall, said the gas will be stored on the premises and distributed to each house.
Each house will have its own gas meter and households will be able to pay for the gas in advance.
Waterfall is currently the biggest residential development in the country and 3 000 houses will be built there over the next five years.
Corbett said the stands sell for between R600 000 and R6.5m for units from 600m² to one hectare. The first three stages, a total of 700 erven, have already been sold.
Sasol Homegas will be installed by qualified staff in compliance with all international and domestic safety standards.
The gas has a distinct smell, so that any leaks can be picked up and traced immediately.
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